For a long time, I didn’t understand how Erin could have so many opinions on every little aspect and every tiny detail. I can’t tell you how many evenings consisted of hour-long tours through her many Pinterest boards, and all I could do was nod in agreement. I didn’t know the difference between granite and marble, and at the time, I didn’t much care.
It’s been a long road filled with many forced hours of HGTV viewing, but I have grown to be just as passionate about the details of our future home as she is. I doubt I will ever have as many pins, but I do have my fair share of opinions. One room that I have a particularly deep attachment to is my future home office space, and in the past few months, my daydreams of this room have become increasingly vivid. Here’s an idea of what it will look like…
The four walls will all be distinctly themed.
The wall with the door, which will be situated opposite the desk, will feature pictures of family. Erin, our future kids, friends, and extended family will populate a gigantic picture collage surrounding the door.
To the left of the desk will be another picture wall. This one will feature only two portraits. The faces that fill these portraits will rotate on a consistent basis between the many writers, leaders, and creative artists who have inspired me over the years. Like an employee of the month wall for historic figures, at any given point in the year you might find the likes of Mark Twain, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, The Rock, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many more.
My book wall will stand on the other side of the desk. Yes, a book WALL. Instead of a shelf, I will have an entire wall, floor to ceiling, of built in bookshelves. As Seth Godin says, “a book is a souvenir of an idea.” Keeping all of my books in plain view will make it easy to simply glance over and be inspired by the many ideas I have collected over the years. Needless to say, I plan on single handedly keeping print books on the market.
The wall behind the desk will not be a wall at all, but a window. Much like the built in book shelves, this window will be floor to ceiling. You may wonder why I’ve placed such a beautiful feature behind the desk. Excellent question!
Obviously, the view from this window will be magnificent and other-worldly, a rocky mountainside flowing down into the calm lake shore below. It will be customary for me to watch the occasional bald eagle fly past the gushing waterfall as it takes it’s place back atop the towering pine trees.* A view like this, while incredible, can be very distracting. If I were to face the window, I know I would easily run the risk of getting caught up in the view all day rather than doing the work. So I will face away from the window, allowing both the rising and the setting sun to pour over my back as I hack away at the keys.**
My desk will be the main feature. It will not really be a desk at all, but a giant oak table, not unlike a dining room table, large enough to seat at least 10. Other than my giant dining desk, the room will be furnished quite sparsely, with a chair in each corner on the off chance Hemingway and C.S. Lewis decide to come back from the dead for afternoon tea.
To me, this is the ultimate writing space. In a room like this, bestsellers write themselves. Right?
This description is obviously overly descriptive and, for now, unrealistic. There are some, and I mean SOME, writers who write in their “ideal writing space.” But for most of us, and I mean MOST, especially those of us who are just starting out, we live in a different, much harsher reality. Something I had to learn very quickly when I started writing is that we can’t wait for the perfect time and space to write. We write where we can. We write when we can. If we wait until we find ourselves in the ideal writing conditions, then we aren’t ever going to get much writing done. This has been true for writers of all kinds, from bestsellers to self-published bloggers.
“Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or how hard it was. They perpetuate a romantic idea that writing is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room filled with leather novels and chai tea.**** They talk about their “morning ritual” and how they “dress for writing” and the cabin in Big Sur where they go to “be alone”—blah blah blah…I wrote this book after my kids went to sleep. I wrote this book on subways and on airplanes and in between setups while I shot a television show. I wrote this book from scribbled thoughts I kept in the Notes app on my I Phone and conversations I had with myself in my own head before I went to sleep. I wrote it ugly and in pieces.”
Created to Create was different, but just as unromantic. I wrote that book from my dressing room at the Broadhurst Theatre in between performing scenes of Mamma Mia. Again, it wasn’t my dream office with a improbably view, but it did the trick. I’m actually surprised that more ABBA lyrics didn’t sneak their way into the book.
I’m not sure this even needs to be said, but I didn’t realize it until just now, so I’m going to say it anyway for this of you who are a little slow(like me). This point extends far beyond writing. We often use the “lack of ideal environment” excuse to keep us from pursuing the things and doing the work that we really want to do. To steal another quote from Amy Poehler, “Writing a book is about writing a book.” It’s not about the clothes you wear or the music you listen to or the tea you sip, it’s about getting your butt in the chair, or the subway bench, or the exercise bike, and getting to work.
Starting your business is about starting your business.
Studying your Bible is about studying your Bible.
Getting fit is about getting fit.
Having a date night is about having a date night.
If we wait until we have the “ideal environment,” then we’ll always be stuck doing exactly that, waiting.
Maybe I’ll have my dream office one day. Maybe not. I hope I do, but whether I do or not doesn’t matter right now. The only thing that matters right now is two questions…
1) Where am I?
2) How can I do my best work RIGHT HERE?
**Yes, that’s right, this window will somehow face both east and west whenever I want it to.
***Virginia is basically the Carolinas just as attractive cousin!
****Who would do that?! What a loser!